Painting titled ‘Easter 1916,’ featuring Patrick Pearse

"Easter 1916," painting (Patrick Pearse seated far left, William Pearse behind)

“Easter 1916,” painting (Patrick Pearse seated far left, William Pearse behind)

Staying up late listening to Toto, eating carrots and reading old blog posts, the unease that comes from seeing where you were compared to where you are now, and how little things change over time.

Charlotte’s most prized stuffed animal “Pinky,” discoloured now and more grey than pink, named for esoteric reasons known only to her and probably stemming from the night she got her pinky tip amputated in the steel jaws of a security gate in a drop-off childcare and how that really fucked our date night sideways and added a dark passage to her formative years, age 3.

Now the greying, tired Pinky, a bunny rabbit that looks mauled by a dog or left out in the rain too long, but it’s Charlotte’s addictive love that’s worn it down and come to represent something clingy and comfortable through the blank plastic eyes only she can see life behind.

We go to a “panto,” short for pantomime I think, which could include puppets, none of us know for sure, but Charlotte’s scared shitless of puppets and wax figures, and Lily’s winding her up at night in bed revealing plot points from a murder mystery she’s drafting where the victims get turned into wax and burned, and I have to tell Charlotte to ignore it, it’s not real, it’s just made up.

All the Irish kids are pooling into the Victorian theatre in their rugby shirts, track suits, football jerseys — and I imagine what I’d do if there was some random shooting, how I’d leap on my kids and take a bullet for them, but it’s Ireland and the cops aren’t even armed here because they don’t need to be, it’s civilised.

Van Morrison, even when he stopped drinking for a time and got into religion, sounded kind of “white Jazz,” still sounds good in the glittering restaurant overhead: Someone Like You, which could be a slow dance on a cruise ship with sweet drinks, a bad cover band.

Watching Charlotte from the other side of the room on her Hewlett-Packard playing a video game or an app, making exaggerated mouth gestures like a bag woman on a bus, she says to me in the theatre Dad, don’t write about me — and I have no idea how she knows.

The Brazen Head, Ireland’s oldest bar, established in 1198 which no one can prove or disprove — quintessentially comfy with leather and worn down wood, a Bob Dylan song from 50 years ago, maybe more — our flat has a distinct smell that’s mainly must, maybe mildew, and worse under the sink where they keep the pots, and comes off when I steam the vegetables like they’re basting in the must, but after a time you get used to it and it starts to feel like home in a kitchen that’s smaller than the kids’ bathroom in the States and not big enough to swing a cat.

I take a picture with my phone of a T-shirt that has a copy of the Easter Proclamation of 1916 and look at busts of Patrick Pearse who led the uprising, relative to my step-dad John, who spoke disparagingly of him which makes sense because he was English, and Patrick would have been an embarrassment to that side of his family, his dad’s, for drawing all that attention to himself and getting executed over it, but here in Dublin they’ve named a street after him, and when we check in at the bed and breakfast on the west coast for our first time here in 2009 the owners look up and mention it’s an odd spelling of the name isn’t it, and had I heard of him? And I hadn’t, and they have to tell me politely it’s probably best I don’t wear that orange sweater much, and I have to look it up on the Internet later.

John would have been proud or disappointed that I visited his relative's summer cottage, Patrick Pearse

Patrick Pearse’s summer cottage, near Galway (2009)

Categories: musings, travel

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22 replies

  1. I’m quite certain that, at that moment in time, you were the only person alive on this particular planet who was listening to Toto, eating carrots, and reading old blog posts.

    Liked by 2 people

    • And now it’s foreverized.


      • I would make fun of you for listening to Genesis and Toto, but that might open me up to being made fun of for listening to Neil Diamond and The Carpenters.


      • It’s fine to make fun of me — I throw the first stone at myself and then it’s fair game. And last night at The Brazen Head I found myself tapping the bar to a Carpenters song…and I’ll get that Neil Diamond “Long, Hot Summer Night” album out ever so often, even with that awkward photo of him on the cover.


      • Neil Diamond makes me happy because, well because he’s Neil Diamond. And Karen Carpenter makes me weep like Chris Farley and David Spade in that thing they were in.

        That album cover of Neil’s does make it difficult, though.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I once ran out of my friend’s flat near Glasgow to see what all the fuss was about – shouts, whistles and banging drums. It was an Orange March, and my friend was afraid to come outside, too embarrassed to be seen supporting an Orange March. So fascinating the whole thing.


    • It is fascinating, so much for us to learn. Interesting too to be here as they’re planning the 100-year-anniversary of the uprising, and for us to have some ties to Patrick Pearse by way of my step-dad John, who was English (Patrick’s dad was also). Feels really good to be a part of it here…overwhelming really how much there is to see in Dublin, and how much we’ll have to leave on the proverbial table.


      • Wow! I just read the Wikipedia page. What a legacy! That must be extra special for you and fam to be there. I hope you enjoy Dublin!


      • Thank you Cali — yes, it is special and unusual. And Dublin is off-the-charts cool. Our landlord here said we could stay an extra night, so we’re trading our first night in Galway for another, here. Going to some story-telling thing tonight at The Brazen Head, “established 1198,” and you can imagine it really is old while sitting there. I guess with good enough marketing you can imagine just about anything.


  3. Have you seen the Galway weather reporter? She’s getting all memed about.
    Just because Dylan, here’s a version of “I’ll Remember You” by our local university choir joined by a group from Nova Scotia. My son sang this version as part of his choral course. It was a program called “Performance Studies”; he thought they’d be watching movies.

    Charlotte’s onto you, man.


    • I hadn’t seen her, but I don’t spend so much time on the Internet — so these trends pass me by sadly, or not…depending. I love the video of your son’s choir there though, that’s a lovely production. I didn’t even know that song, it sounds like 70s era Dylan. It sounds really good, thanks for sharing. Charlotte’s hair is a bird’s nest now and she’s needling Lily, complaining about getting up at 9:30, doesn’t understand why we have to get up because it’s so dark still, she says. There was a band of light with the sunrise but now it’s gone grey, tis the season.


  4. lots of ‘color names’ sprinkled throughout this post. are you dreaming in color these days? ‘pink, orange, white,gray…’


    • I hadn’t noticed that, that’s cool — thanks Beth! I was also reminded last night, by looking back at some older posts from a while ago, what a great supporter you’ve been of my blog over the years, often the only comments I received when I was starting this up, which are always great to hear of course. So thank you! Best, – Bill


  5. Cringed about your child’s pinky trauma and then had to play hunt-the-answer to figure out why Orange is undesirable in Ireland. All I could determine was that it depended on where you were in the country, what day it is and whether a football match was in the offing. Otherwise, the opinion seemed to be: wear whatever you want.


    • Well, glad to have piqued your interest but sorry to send you on a hunt like that. As I’ve found in other topics, when I want to grasp the history of something it often raises more questions, and has multiple sides of course…in this instance, what I took from it is that there was William of Orange who came to Ireland in 1609, defeated the Catholics (was Protestant), represented England, set up what probably felt like a repressive government to the Catholics in the north, took away some of their land (kicked them out), and then for years to come there was a famous parade celebrating this victory where the Protestants wore orange and the Catholics basically hid, and he’s called William of Orange because he was Dutch by the way, and the Dutch obviously wear orange from what little football I’ve watched…and hence, why I got a funny talking to from our lovely hosts in the west of Ireland who said wryly, ya’ doan want ta’ be wearin’ orange round here…and that is a hacked up version of history which I have no business telling myself, but thought I owed you for havin’ made ya’ look! Cheers – Bill

      Liked by 1 person

  6. That opening paragraph should be engraved in wood and sold on arts and crafts websites.

    Has Charlotte’s fingertip grown back or is there a permanent reminder? I winced when I read that. I think my daughters know about my blog but they know I don’t want them to know about it so they don’t say anything. But they know.

    One man’s hero is another man’s terrorist. It’ll never end. Never.

    Another post with genuine punch.

    Liked by 1 person

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